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Luke 15: 20

And he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him.

You all know the story of the prodigal son and how he went off to another town and lived there until he squandered his inheritance. Realizing the slaves of his father’s house fared better than he was in that foreign town, he decided to return home. He didn’t have a cell phone (I guess he squandered that too) so he did not call his father to say that he was returning home. His plan was to show up and beg his father for a position as a hired hand since, he believed, he no longer deserved the title and position of a son.

Obviously, this is a picture of each of us. Jesus told this story in order to illustrate to us how Father God loves us. We don’t deserve to be called the children of our Father either. Some of us have squandered our time, our money and our skills on the wrong pursuits. For many of us we spent those resources which God gave us on our flesh or, in other words, on worldly desires. Then we come to the end of ourselves and realize that we have wasted so much precious time. So, we turn our faces back towards home, knowing we deserve nothing but hoping that we can at least have the leftover crumbs of His grace.

The thing that astounds me about this verse is that the father saw the prodigal approaching in the distance. Let’s read this again, “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him, and kissed him.” How did the father see him while he was still a long way off? The answer is that he, the father, was looking for him. Imagine the father. Every morning he arises early and looks out to the horizon anticipating the return of his beloved son. He stands there and watches for his kid. He was not reclining in his tent bemoaning the fact that the boy went off and wasted what the father gave. He didn’t judge the boy. He just searched for him every day until one day, there upon the horizon, was a dust cloud. He kept watching and praying that it might be his lost one. When the boy came into view the father ran to him.

Glory to God! This is the image of our heavenly Father who searches and watches for us. When we return to Him, He runs to embrace us. He feels compassion towards us, not hate and anger. Let this sink down into your spirit. Feel the compassion of this father towards his lost child. Now become the child as you receive your Father’s embrace. Bask in the warmth of His joy at your presence. This, Jesus said, is the way the heavenly Father feels towards you. Of course He has never forsaken those who seek Him. He longs to have us return to Him so that He can express His compassion and love towards us. He is watching for you daily, searching the horizon for your visage to appear over the hill. There is nothing which gladdens His heart more than for you to want to spend time with Him. You are the beloved. You are the apple of His eye.

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